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Well, now, those are some big....headphones....
I've heard that in the best video games, the greatness is that you don't notice things like the gameplay, graphics or music- they don't pop out because they just tie the game together. To some extent, this is true, but the genius of the best gaming music is that hours after you've finished playing, the music has a way of getting stuck in your head. For me, the best music comes from the classics. The Legend of Zelda comes to mind- each incarnation of the series has a distinctive sound and feel. My favorites right off the bat are from Windwaker and Ocarina of Time, but I've also developed quite a love of the Skyward Sword original soundtrack as well. Even though I'm still stuck about halfway through the game (Wiimote controls for left handed people are still kind of sucky), I've got quite a few favorite tunes from the dungeons.
And yet...there is more that can be done with music than what the game has to offer.
It's-a-me, a re-mix-mix!
Today I am going to talk a bit about game soundtrack remixes. Many of you are probably going, "Re-huh? Mix-what?" But it's true! The music you love is not magically sacred. The hot thing nowadays might be remixes of pop songs and the usage of old music clips in rap music, but video game music is not exempt from this. And, to be honest, the people who remix gaming music are far superior at doing it. So without further ado, I'm going to talk about a couple of my favorite remix albums, as well as give you links to some of these amazing albums. The final awesome thing about remixes is the fact that they are free to download because remixes cannot legally be sold for profit. Listen onward, my friends. It's going to be a multi-phonic ride.
#1: Theophony: Time's End-Majora's Mask Remixed
First off, if you haven't heard of the Creepy Pasta surrounding this dark and whimsical classic, you need to read it. NOW (or, at least when you can afford to stay awake all night because you're freaked out). One of the most captivating things about Majora's Mask was the fact that the game took your favorite characters from Ocarina of Time and brought them to a world that was literally ending in three days, with a ghastly-faced moon descending ever-onward towards the ground. Not only was there plenty of death and mature themes, but it also brought an air of innocence and whimsy, much like some of the original Grimm's Fairytales.
The music is high quality- the atmospheric sounds from the original soundtrack are preserved, but each track has a very specific theme, lovingly remixed with very realistic classical instruments and heavy atmospheric synth. This is the kind of music you can listen to at work, but it's also liable to creep you out if you're listening at night alone at your computer. It's the kind of music that makes you turn around often when you're wearing headphones just to make sure you're still alone.
No zero suit required.
#2: Harmony of a Hunter: Metroid Remix
My friend SuperKing here on GIO was the one who told me about this album, which is the combined work of many different artists taking their most beloved Metroid music and turning it into a remixed masterpiece. While I have not actually played all of the Metroid games, this album delivers the sci-fi rock/electronic/ambient punch that your music library has sorely been missing. Not only are there some good tracks on here for taking with you to the gym or your daily workout, but there are a lot of atmospheric tracks that are perfect for playing while you're doing homework or simply want to add a little extra musical oomph to your evening.
Gotta listen to 'em all!
#3: Pokemon: The Missingno Tracks
If you've never played the original Red and Blue versions of Pokemon, then you are missing out on a handheld gaming masterpiece. Not only does Pokemon have a whimsical beauty to its story and world, but it also features some of the best gameplay available for a quest/rpg handheld game. Save anywhere, the option to reasonably choose how many random battles you want to have (as opposed to most RPGs that force you to random battle every couple seconds for the whole game), and you can't forget Missingno- the pixelated pokemon that could become pretty much any rare pokemon you wanted- a glitch built into the system that gamers passed around by word of mouth in the pre Internet 2.0 times. Once again, this music floods your nostalgia gland and doesn't disappoint. One of the most memorable things about Pokemon is the music- if I just mention "Pokemon Center" you probably just started humming the theme at the thought of it. The music is memorable without being annoying, which is as it should be.
Headphones required, game controller optional.
Now, beyond the albums themselves, the site called Overclocked Remix is home to one of the largest remixes of game music you'll ever see. From classics like "Age of Empires" to more contemporary titles, you can hear all manner of remixed music (although not all of the music is based in a full album). Now, while I'm not exactly a fan of some of the music (remember, remixes are largely done by people who make remixed music in their spare time, so this is not only an unpaid labor of love, but the musicians who make these remixes come from all walks of life and levels of talent). However, there is something to be respected by someone who loves a song so much that they want to make an homage to it. Remixes are the fanart of the audiophile universe, and as such they bring a new take on old favorites, and may indeed even inspire you to break out dancing randomly in public.
"Say Ahhhhhh...with your ears..."
So what are your thoughts on video game remixes? Do you have a favorite song or album?
What series, in your opinion, ought to be remixed?
If you could choose your perfect remix/music genre, what game would you choose and what style of music would you want it to be remixed into?
And finally, how was your holiday/New Year?
In my neck of the woods, the whole family got a coughing viral THING in my household this year, but there were many an awesome gift given, and I received many emails from my Pony Ornament gift recipients saying that their ponies safely arrived on time (yaaay!) Plus, on New Year day, we partook in our ritual Sushi/Japanese Feast dinner, which was amazingly delicious.
Here's hoping for a good start to 2013!
Until next time!
Some Japanese food looks almost too good to eat!